Savannah State jumped out to a five-run lead in the first inning and held on for a 7-5 victory against USC Beaufort on Tuesday at Hardeeville's Richard Gray Baseball Complex, denying coach Rick Sofield in his bid to earn his 100th victory with the Sand Sharks.
Emory Barkley had a two-run single, and Matthew Nowacki added a two-run triple for the Tigers in the first, as Savannah State jumped on starter Stephen Richards inning. Richards settled in after the first and worked three scoreless innings, but the damage was done. He allowed five runs on six hits over four innings.
The Sand Sharks (27-19) had the go-ahead run at the plate with one out in the eighth, but reliever Eric Ransom retired Blake Cilwick and Erik Armstrong to get out of the jam and leave the bases loaded. USCB also left the bases loaded in the third and sixth, stranding 14 overall.
Keifer Youmans was 3 for 5 and scored twice for USCB, and Larry Perry, Brett Martin and Weldon Smith each had two hits and an RBI.
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Matthew Oglesby went 4 for 5 for Savannah State.
Sofield, who is in his third year at USCB since launching the program, got to 99 wins with a three-game sweep at Florida Memorial over the weekend, but he couldn't pick up the milestone victory Tuesday.
His next shot will come at 11 a.m. Tuesday, when the Sand Sharks face Embry-Riddle in the opening game of the Sun Conference tournament in Fort Myers, Fla.
The Eagles, who moved up to the No. 1 spot in this week's NAIA coaches poll, took two of three from USCB in the regular season.
SSU 500 000 020 -- 7 12 0
USCB 012 000 011 -- 5 14 0
WP: Tommy Freeman 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K.
LP: Stephen Richards 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.
Sv: Eric Ranson 1 2-3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
Top hitters: USCB -- Spencer Jackson 2 for 5; Larry Perry 2 for 4, RBI; Blake Cilwick 1 for 4, RBI; Erik Armstrong 1 for 5, 2B, RBI; Keifer Youmans 3 for 5; Brett Martin 2 for 5, 2B, RBI; Weldon Smith 2 for 5, RBI. SSU -- Matthew Oglesby 4 for 5, 3B; Russel Cooper 1 for 4, RBI; Dondregius Jackson 1 for 2, RBI; Emory Barkley 1 for 4, 2 RBIs; Matthew Nowacki 2 for 5, 3B, 2 RBIs; Kevin Herlihy 1 for 4, RBI.